The Power of Influencers

For blog GA We work planoly

Some people think a social media influencer has a gazillion followers or a multi-million dollar recording deal.  General Assembly Austin presented a panel on June 12th called “Cashing in on Influence: Tapping into the Power of Influencers to Grow a Brand” that not only busted myths like that but also gave plenty of tips for growing and leveraging a social media following.

The panelists described ways to raise your game on social media (mainly, in this case, Instagram). The main questions of the evening revolved around ‘how do I connect with businesses and brands to create a side hustle, and even a main hustle?

GA ATX and Planoly definitely picked the right group to answer those questions. The panel, moderated by Priscilla of @Planoly, included: Evelyn – @evelynfromtheinternets;  Jules – @OmAndTheCity; ‏ Ruchi – @theaccidentalchic; and Mairin of @HomeAway.

Here are some of the top take-aways from the presentation:

  • Stay true to your purpose and mission (if your IG is about style, keep it about style);
  • There is no substitute for quality content;
  • Do as much A/B testing as possible;
  • Though the number of followers you have is important, so is engagement rate;
  • Build relationships (with businesses, your followers and other influencers);
  • Engage (have conversations);
  • Have patience (things may not take off right away).

Thank you panelists for the window into a fascinating world. And thank you GA ATX, Planoly and WeWork Austin for offering this great learning opportunity.

 

 

Image: Erler

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Relationships with Foundations

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Erica Ekwurzel – Presenting at the Texas Grants Resource Center

On June 8th, 2018, The Texas Grants Resource Center’s Nonprofit Partner series featured Developing Donor Relationships with Family & Private Foundations, presented by Erica V. Ekwurzel, CFRE. Erica shared tips from her experience leading and supporting family and private grantmakers.

Here are some of the top take-aways from the TGRC session:

  • When it comes to applying for grants – don’t do “mission drift.” Don’t lose sight of your mission by chasing grant funding that reflects the ideas of others;
  • Review and proofread all applications;
  • If you know one foundation…well, you know one foundation.
  • Make sure that the application you send is purposeful and intentional;
  • Have data to support your proposal.

For more information on presentations by the Texas Grants Resource Center, visit Texasgrc.org.

 

Image: Erler

Women Entrepreneurs: Sharing Wisdom

PeopleSpring2018

The wisdom of experience is priceless. PeopleFund – a nonprofit that provides small business loans and other business assistance – celebrated the wisdom of Austin business women at the “PeopleSpring, Ladies, Lunch & Learn” networking and leadership event in Austin on May 31st.

The focus of the luncheon event was a panel discussion and Q & A with three leaders in the business community: Deborah Whitby, Austin Plumbery Owner; Meme Styles, MEASURE Founder & President; and Quita Culpepper, KVUE Anchor. Some of the key pieces of wisdom the panel shared with the audience of women entrepreneurs included:

  • Spend time on setting business processes and procedures early;
  • When you are struggling for balance, don’t forget self-care;
  • Remember that your community is a source of energy;
  • Own your destiny.

Thank you panelists, PeopleFund and event sponsor American Bank for a wonderful afternoon and for providing an empowering space for female entrepreneurs.

 

Image: Erler

Tips to manage, leverage, and energize your nonprofit board

Tara

The Texas Grants Resource Center’s May presentation was all about getting the best out of your nonprofit board. Long-time nonprofit consultant Tara Levy shared the top tips for leveraging your board to support your organization’s mission.

Tara is an experienced trainer and consultant on nonprofit leadership and management, including a decade assisting nonprofits at Mission Capital before launching her independent practice (Tara Levy Nonprofit Consulting). She has served nonprofits as a staff member, board member, and volunteer.

Here are just a few of Tara’s tips on board relations:

  • Mentor new board members (pair new members up with established members);
  • Have an annual board self-evaluation;
  • Do board succession planning (for example: consider having an Incoming Board President position);
  • Connect and enjoy each other as a team.

The TGRC provides events that will uplift, educate and connect in ways that make Austin’s nonprofit community even stronger.  This program furthers the mission of the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). The DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) houses this program.

 

 

Image: Erler

 

3 Austin Resources for Strengthening Your Nonprofit Organization

When you think of people who chose to work for nonprofit organizations, what comes to mind? You probably picture someone with a big heart.

big heart

But a big heart is not the only requirement to for helping others. If you fill your brain with tips and specialized nonprofit knowledge, you can help even more people. There are a number of organizations in Austin that provide excellent assistance to community sector professionals. But there are three that I “geek out” at when I visit them or take a class from them – and I think you will too.

Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College (CNS @ ACC)

Check out CNS @ ACC’s web site for their list of services. But as a nonprofit geek, I’d like to focus here on their learning opportunities. I have enjoyed offerings such as grant writing, social media, and team-building. One thing I like is that they have classes of various lengths and price-ranges. I have seen free brown bag lunchtime offerings and I have seen multi-week classes culminating in a certificate. There is something for every nonprofit professional at CNS @ ACC.

The Regional Foundation Library (RFL) at the University of Texas at Austin

Do you ever wonder what the secret to obtaining grant funding is? Stopping by the RFL is the first step toward finding out. For more than 50 years, the RFL has served as a bridge between the grant-seeking and the grant-making communities. The staff at the RFL can answer your questions about ways to approach grant giving organizations. But this geek’s favorite tool at the RFL is the Foundation Directory Online Database. You can use it to search for the foundations that are most likely to give you grants. The RFL staff can coach you on the best way to use the Foundation Directory Online and their other free tools.

Greenlights

Greenlights’ mission is to strengthen nonprofits for extraordinary performance and impact. This 501(c)3 organization provides management consulting services, professional development, customized training, in-depth research and more. Visit their site for examples of what you can learn; but one example of a recent Greenlights research report is On the Verge: Value and Vulnerability of Austin’s Nonprofit Sector. This study reports the surprising facts that: Austin is home to nearly 6,000 nonprofits – but 72% have less than $100K in income – and less than 15% have ANY paid staff.

If you start building your knowledge of how to help a nonprofit organization succeed, then visit any or all of these resources – and tell them the Greater Good Geek sent you.

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Fill your brain with information about nonprofit organizations Resources:

Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College (formerly known as Center for Community Based and Nonprofit Organizations – CCBNO): 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, #414, Austin, TX 78752, (512) 223-7051; http://sites.austincc.edu/npo/

The Regional Foundation Library: At UT’s Community Engagement Center, 1009 East 11th St., Austin, TX. A call is recommended before visiting: (512) 475-7373′ http://ddce.utexas.edu/foundationlibrary/

Greenlights (formerly known as Greenlights for Nonprofit Success): 8303 N MoPac Expy Suite A201, Austin, Texas 78759, (512) 477-5955; http://www.greenlights.org/

Questions:

Have you used any of these resources? If so, what did you think? Are there other resources that you have found helpful?

Image Credits: S. Erler (first image); Internet Archive Book Images (second image).

Independence – what this word can teach you about nonprofit organizations

Independence. This weekend, as the U.S. celebrates our independence, is a great time to examine this word. It can mean different things to different groups of people. Many senior citizens, for example, value the independence that living at home brings. There is a high loss of independence if health and mobility require someone to move away from home to an assisted living facility.

Focus on Nonprofit Organizations: Capital City Village

The Greater Good Geek blog will occasionally feature a nonprofit organization and “geek out” with a food for thought “case study.” Today’s edition focuses on an organization called Capital City Village. Capital City Village is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seniors stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible (a concept called aging in place and community). In other words, the organization supports the independence of senior citizens.

What Nonprofit Leaders Can Learn

This Independence-based nonprofit organization teaches us is how important it is for nonprofit leaders to be in tune with changing demographics. There will be cases when new nonprofit options need to be created to address population trends – and this is one of them.

The Growing Needs of Baby Boomers

The Baby Boom is one of those population trends that cannot be ignored by the community sector. The influence of Baby Boomers stems in part by the size of the group: there are currently 78 million boomers in the U.S. and 8,000 boomers are turning 65 every day (Source: How Baby Boomers Are Changing Retirement Living, Washingtonian, March 13, 2014).

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Seniors Value Their Independence

The “traditional” retirement options (assisted living, retirement communities) are not fitting the needs of today’s senior citizens. Many want to age at home, retaining independence and saving money. This is where nonprofit leaders saw a trend and Capital City Village (CCV) was created. Founded in 2010, CCV gives seniors access to volunteers, service providers and social and educational programs – helping them age in place.

This Geek’s Case Study

So the Geek’s “case study” lessons for nonprofit leaders are: keep your finger on the pulse of demographic trends, notice needs in your community, shift the focus of your organization (or start a new organization) to address a need that has not been addressed yet.

Population Trends

Questions:

What are some of the recent trends in your community? Do you see a population growth that needs services? Is there a recent community need that a nonprofit organization could better address? Do you have ideas about how those needs could be addressed? Do you have experience with a nonprofit organization that started a new program for the purpose of addressing a new population trend? If so, please share details.

Image credits: Flip Schulke, The U.S. National Archives (first image). Thomas Abercrombie, Internet Archive Book Images (second image).